This Week in Stress Shopping

Stressed, depressed, and AirPhil-expressed (read: screwed).
Yes, I rhyme now.

It all started with my Clarisonic Mia. After three and a half years of loyal service it decided to stop charging. In retrospect I should have taken care of it better; I had it in storage for more than a few months with the battery discharged and that couldn't be good (the recommended battery level for storage for most devices is around 70%, if you're wondering).

The Clarisonic is a double-edged sword - it cleans your pores, keeps acne at bay, but you have to keep using it. Stop for a while, and your pores get clogged like there's no tomorrow. So when bumps started to appear, I decided it's time to get a replacement.

Friday Favorites: Nimble Quest

If, like me, you're getting fed up with Candy Crush (read: hopelessly stuck in Level 97), here's a new iOS game for you.

From the same dudes who gave us Tiny Tower and Pocket Planes, it has kept me glued to my phone for hours since I downloaded it - no need to ask people to send you lives, no need to wait for planes to land and building stocks to get sold out. Needless to say, it's bound to make anyone hopelessly unproductive so if you have some deadline to beat then by all means stay away.

Quick Stop: Malaysia Truly Asia

I have been in Singapore for almost two years now (that was pretty damn fast, I must say), but I have never set foot in Malaysia until a week ago, which is a shame considering it's right next door. But I guess that's the thing with nearby places; they always get overlooked because you figure you can always go there anytime.

Luckily the boyfriend had a two-week business trip to Kuala Lumpur, so I had the perfect excuse to visit. However, I had to be home for a very unfortunate family emergency, so I ended up staying for less than a day. I was also in no state for sightseeing; I was tired, frazzled, and I've been traveling for what seemed like years - after the four hour plane ride I hopped onto a bus which, though comfy, took a solid five hours.

Friday Favorites: Comfort Food

Friday nights have always been my "me" nights. I normally cook something a bit more special than my daily fare - usually a nice fat steak or a couple of equally fat female crabs - and happily gobble it all up while watching a movie. But lately I've been under the weather - cough and colds and exhaustion and AirPhil stress (coming soon: long and rambling blog post on this) and all that. So today it's comfort food.

There is no other food I miss more than tuyo (dried fish). My mother would always make sure we have ample stock in our pantry whenever I go home. Rice and tuyo and spicy vinegar and I'm a happy happy camper. So imagine my glee when I found bottled "gourmet" tuyo being sold at FairPrice. This has got to be the culinary invention of the century - it can travel anywhere, extends the shelf life, and eliminates the risk of alienating your neighbors (tuyo is known to freak the unfamiliar out). I got myself two bottles because I'm a hoarder like that.

Sniffles have a way of triggering chicken soup cravings, so today I made what I hope would pass for arroz caldo. I had some leftover baked chicken (chicken breasts pounded flat, marinated with soy sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar, and garlic, and baked in an oven toaster for 20 minutes - easy peasy), so I just sauteed that with ginger and garlic, added some brown rice and chicken stock, and did my laundry (brown rice takes forever to cook).

A couple of tuyo flakes, crispy fried ginger, and a dash or two of balsamic vinegar and we're in business. ^^

Here's hoping for a relaxed and uneventful weekend. :)

Friday Favorites: Hair Things

I haven't had much success in the hair care department. My last triumph was the green Pantene circa 2002 (?) that made my hair really shiny in a week. And then they decided to reformulate it into a crazy pimple-inducing sludge. It took months for my scalp to recover from the scars, and I haven't touched a Pantene product since. 

Shortly after college I got myself into a vicious hair cycle. It started with a rebond. I have very fine hair, so immediately post treatment my hair would cling desperately to my scalp like its life depended on it (and it just occurred to me that, well, it actually does).  So I would swear - swear! - to grow it out and never straighten my hair again. Six months to one year later (I get pretty good rebonds so I don't get that nasty demarcation where the treated hair ended and the untouched hair begins), and my hair would regain a bit of volume, but not without a lot of attitude. So, I would iron it into submission. A month later, my hair would be fried, split ends start to emerge, and knots and tangles and things would start to form spontaneously. So, rebond. Yay.

But now, I am happy to report that it's been almost two years since my last rebonding treatment, and I have zero plans of getting one in the near future. All thanks to these:

L'oreal EverPure Moisture Shampoo
I'm not usually very particular with shampoos (as long as it's not Pantene!), but ever since I moved to Singapore I have developed a nasty case of dandruff. Not the type that falls of in tiny white flakes, but the type that forms huge scabs, which I then scratch off. Very unsightly. I have tried countless brands from Nizoral to Phyto but none really helped.
And then I got a Brazilian Keratin treatment and was advised to find a shampoo that did not contain sulfates and sodium chloride. Now there are tons of sulfate-free shampoos out in the market today. But sodium chloride-free? Very few. You'd be surprised. Even baby shampoos have sodium chloride. This particular one by L'oreal is supposed to be for colour-treated hair, but, well, I didn't really have much of a choice (plus, it was also on sale teehee). It took two bottles, but now my scalp is scab-free! Now all I have to do is wait for it to go on sale again and hoard.

Cream Silk Conditioner
I love love love Cream Silk conditioners! Cheap but effective. Why they're not available in Singapore, I'll never know. I always have to stock up on these every time I go home. My favorite is actually the blue one, but the pink one is not bad so I just alternate between them.

Kerastase Ciment Thermique
First of all, I've never been a fan of hair treatments. Heat-activated treatments? No way is that going to work. But clearance bins have a way of making you try things. That and a very positive score in MakeupAlley. Let me put it this way - I've been ironing my hair straight almost everyday for more than two months now,  and my hair is still looking very healthy. Not only healthy. Obedient. And shiny. And happy. Pleased is an understatement. Bonus: it smells awesome too! If you heat-blast your hair like I do, you have to get this. If you end up not liking it then just send it my way haha :p

I realize I might be giving the impression that my hair is now long and flowing and shampoo-commercial ready. It's not. But I've had very stubborn hair my entire life, and this is the best it's ever been. Worth a try, if you're in a haircare slump. ^^

Friday Favorites: Sephora Body Butter in Toffee

One word: noms.

I'm not so big on sweet scents (and body butters in humid weather), but this just smells so incredibly awesome.

If you're familiar with St. Peter's butter ball candies (ah, the sweets of my childhood), that is exactly what it smells like - yummy creamy caramel goodness. And unlike other body butters that can be quite thick and greasy (Body Shop, I am looking at you), Sephora body butters are lighter and easily absorbed but still hydrating.

It also comes in a couple of other scents, in case you're not fond of butter ball candies (but how can you not be?!?). But really, it's a gorgeous, gorgeous body butter.

P.S. Sephora is having a 10% off sale in celebration of women's day, so it's the perfect time to check it out (but please leave some for meeeeee)

Weihnachtsmarkt: Attack of the German Christmas Markets

I know, I know, it's March. We have all just recovered from the insanity that is the year-end holidays, and here I am with a Christmas post. But I just picked up my winter stuff from the dry cleaner (took me two months - that's world-class procrastination for you), and I noticed a couple of now permanent Gluhwein stains on my (formerly) white Michelin-man jacket and that just opened the memory floodgates. Besides, I still have my Christmas tree up in my room. Everyday is Christmas day and all that crap :p. Anyway I digress.

"You have to visit the Christmas Markets!" - that is what every single German colleague had to say when I ask for suggestions on what to do on a two-month business trip. And being the impressionable, obedient little girl that I am, I went to five. Six if you count the one in Paris which I merely stumbled upon.

The Aschaffenburg Christmas Market, birthplace of the stains on my jacket

Friday Favorites: Tangle Teezer

Remember untanglers (aka Hair Doctors)? They're these combs with rotating metal teeth that were all the rage way back in high school. They came in different sizes and colors and we were always very careful not to drop them because the teeth wouldn't line up perfectly afterwards. There hasn't been as much excitement over  hair-detangling product since.

Enter the Tangle Teezer.